It would be nice to think you can trust the pros. This goes for whether you are dealing with attorneys, plumbers, pilots or yes, even roof cleaners. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. And in a poor economy, a lot of unskilled workers or contractors from other fields, will start doing anything for a buck, including the very dangerous, important, and specialized job of roof cleaning.
The good news is that with a little awareness, you can quickly learn whether you are dealing with a seasoned professional firm or someone using your roof as part of their learning curve (i.e., paying to be someone’s guinea pig.) Here are five common mistakes made by inexperienced roof cleaners that you can look for.
1. Power washing with non-customized equipment. Let’s face it, most competent roof cleaners will rightfully tell you that you should avoid power washing all together. While this is very good advice that I agree with, you never want to paint with too broad of a brush. Anyone who has cleaned thousands or at least many hundreds of roofs will tell you that there is the rare roof that still can only be cleaned by use of power washing. When this occurs, the equipment used should not be an “off the counter” power washer. It should be a specially designed unit to use lower pressure (still over 1000 Psi, but not 3000 to 4000!) and much more water volume. If some someone does convince you that your roof must be cleaned by power washing, ask them about the equipment they will be using. You will soon know whether or not they really know their trade.
2. Use of toxic or improper treatments. Sadly, this happens more than you would know. We have received several calls in the past few years from supposed roof cleaners or their customers begging for help because their roofs have been stained rust-orange, treated with Round Up, or sticky substances that all the tree debris was adhering too. Moss, algae, fungus or just plain pollutants all are unique and require the right treatment to remove them.
Sometimes, the difference between treatments or their names is very subtle but the difference in their results is drastic. Additionally, is some states, pesticide applicator licensing is required in addition to contractor licensing. Lack of proper licensing is a sure fire way to identify a novice.
3. Too aggressive with the cleaning. Regardless of how a roof might be most appropriately cleaned – by treatment solutions, hand cleaning, brushing, sweeping, air pressure or power washing, being too aggressive with the respective method or tools will quickly cause damage. Often an amateur, after discovering a better, more gentle method, will error by assuming that there is now no way to cause harm and over clean. Other times, just a sincere desire to clean the last little bit of moss or algae off a roof will result in damage.
Many times, the best cleaning method will involve both mechanical means as well as treatment. This allows the treatment to handle the final, smallest trouble areas without having to be too harsh with the mechanical aspect of the cleaning.
4. Not being aggressive enough. This problem might not be evident at first thought but it is quite common. In a nutshell, it basically involves a false sense of security, thinking a problem has been addressed while all the while it has been getting worse. Commonly, this situation will often occur as a result of someone offering to treat a roof while doing other services (gutter cleaning, window cleaning, exterior painting, etc.) Unfortunately, the roof likely needed more that just treating. Treating alone is only a sufficient cleaning method when purely algae or fungus are the issue or a very, very young moss infestation. Simply tossing up a quick treatment, while it might be a nice profit enhancer for the service provider, delays the real job that needs to be done. For instance, partially killed moss that is too mature to be dislodged makes a very good base for a reinvigorated infestation within just a few months. Inevitably, the subsequent roof cleaning will involve removing a larger, more establish problem that the original one.
5. Forcing one cleaning method for all roofs. This is the hidden destroyer of many roofs. Many newer roof cleaners are on a shoe-shoestring and if they can’t afford all of the right equipment and treatments, the only option it to justify using the method they have for all jobs. Very unfortunately, this results in some very confused and frustrated homeowners as they try to reconcile very different explanations told them by various companies.
Homeowners are put in the difficult situation of not just figuring out what is best for their roof but who is telling them the truth. If you remember your common sense and realize that similar to more aspects of life, different problems and environments require unique solutions you will be able to steer clear of this mistake. Ask the roof cleaning company what other methods they have recently used on some of their projects.
A quick review of these five mistakes will help keep you focused on solving your roof’s currently problems and avoid having someone else creating any new ones.
All Surface Cleaning Company is an award winning, Portland Oregon family owned business. We are one of two closely interrelated divisions. All Surface Cleaning Company works primarily on roof cleaning, restoring roofs, decks, gutters, and All Surface Roofing and Construction is involved in slightly larger projects, such as roof, gutter and retractable awning installation and replacement. Call 503-390-9274 for Portland Roof Cleaning Services